Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sprinting Into Happiness with a Different Kind of Plan

Sometimes it is just in the running.  In the being.  In the "in the moment" living.  In many ways this is how my word/phrase "Sprinting Toward Happiness" lives with me.  The phrase "sprinting into happiness" chose me and it is evolving with my word from last year, "open-heartedness", to a whole new level.  Please see my last two entries when I  talked about the morphing of my 2015 word and my new word/phrase for 2016.

I am a believer in creating an intention and using that intention to make a new reality.  I look at creating a word for the year as a way of creating an intention.  I want to create a space in my life for that word to take root in a grounded, deep way.  I also see different ways to make an intention a reality.  One path is in the allowing.  And the other is in the creating.  One is more reflective.  The other is more active.

I have lived in the active, goal-setting world for most of my life.  That place has served me and helped me accomplish many things in my life.  It is a world where I take control and I make happen.  There have been times in my life that I have systematically made goals in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual domains and worked actively in fulfilling those goals.  I saw movement.  I took action.   I saw movement.   In many ways I look at this approach as a masculine 'get things done' pathway.

This sprint, though, is opening up a place of receptivity for me.  A place where life happens in the being.  A place where I let go of control and allow the intention to unfold.  It has been a scarier, more vulnerable space.  A more feminine 'allowing' pathway.  One where I can't measure growth and look at specific actions that bring me from step A to step B.  One where a focus on the intention in softer ways opens me to being in that space.  One where I can't check off accomplishments or tasks but can look back and see me changing into the intention that I set.

How does that that play out for me?   The key for me in the allowing is actually in the noticing.   Several things that I do allow that noticing to grow.

  • I created a happiness jar.  Elizabeth Gilbert talks about happiness jars as a way to document times of happiness in her life.  She talks about how she sometimes notices some of her happiest moments in the midst of deep sadness.  I want to notice happiness in all forms, so everyday at the end of my day, I spend a few moments reflecting on times of happiness that occurred for me during the day.  Sometimes I write them down much like I would a gratitude list.  One of those moments are added to my jar for me to view in moments when happiness might seem fleeting.
  • I set an intention for happiness nightly so that I can sleep with the intention and live it the next day.   Sometimes I forget my intention as I live my day and am amazed in my evening reflection how that intention played out even though I might not have thought about it through the day.   This intention will look different on various days.  For instance, this week one day my intention was to find happiness in my writing.  I chose to write a poem the next day when I perused my journal as an action to make my intention realized.  Another day, my intention was to find happiness in relationships. That day I chose to by create an online space for allowing dating to enter my life again.  Today my intention was to allow a space for happiness and there are no particular actions that I am setting out to do except in the noticing.  Not every day has specific actions.  They all end with a time of reflection where I notice how that intention was made real that day.
  • In the morning, before I get out of bed, I put one hand on my heart and the other on my belly and asking myself, "What do I need today in my sprint toward happiness?"  I listen to what my body says.  Does it say I need to get more sleep?  Does it say I need to call my daughter to connect?  Does it say find a way to connect with laughter?  Does it say to notice my hunger today and eat till I am full?  I allow myself to notice what is happening inside and around me to allow for my happiness sprint to form roots along the way.
  • Sometimes it is about stopping in the middle of the day to take a few deep breaths and remember.  My job is very busy and I don't feel like I have enough time, yet, I have taken to shutting my door once or twice a day for about five minutes to just breathe and notice.  Which actually makes me more effective in all that I do throughout the day (an added benefit to noticing:),
An allowing stance can lead to taking an action or creating a goal.  Sometimes it in in the being.  And sometimes it is in the doing.  When doing arises from being that goal arises from an entirely different place.  It no longer is about pushing through.  It is about letting grow.  It is not about holding tight.  It is about letting go.  It is about allowing grace to unfold.  The process becomes gift.  Last year my desire for open-heartedness became a great gift as I allowed it to open in me.  This year I desire to allow the same in my sprint into happiness.

It is about the allowing.  Sometimes it is just in the running.  In the being.  In the "in the moment" living.   Allowing a space to be is where grace unfolds and happiness emerges.  A space of gift.


  1. This is very much like mindfulness. I am doing an online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class (one of my "intentions" for this year). It's all about noticing, being aware of your own breath, being nonjudgmental. Best wishes as you continue your journey!

  2. "Allowing a space to be" in lieu of "holding tight" sounds like a satisfying part of life, Deb. I enjoyed your description of your travels, so intentional & thoughtful. Best wishes to you every time when you greet the day.

  3. I love the allowing, unfolding, receptivity, and awareness you are creating around your intention - simply beautiful, Deb!

  4. Sounds like you will have a peaceful and intention-filled year ahead of you!

  5. love your OLW/phrase! It is so important to be mindful and filled with intention. I wish you the very best in your journey towards more of that this year!

    1. Thanks, Sonja. Sprinting toward happiness fits right now! And I am letting it become me.